5th General Audience, October 10, 1979
1. In Gen. 2:18, God says, coming from the Yawhist tradition, the second account of creation,
“It is not good that the man should be alone; I want to make him a help similar to himself”.
John Paul makes two significant points:
1. the first man adam [person] is created from the dust of the ground and this comes before the creation of woman. Gen. 2:7; and
2.the first man is defined as male ish, only after the creation of woman ishshah Gen. 2:21-22
John Paul maintains this solitude has two meanings:
1. deriving from human nature; and
2. deriving from the male-female relationship
3. Solitude is mentioned only in the 2nd account of creation of man -- there is no reference to “solitude” in the 1st
This expresses a fundamental anthropological problem because man’s solitude is prior to his sexual identity -- he is alone before being defined as male; this solitude is deep within the very being of human nature.
Man in Search of His Essence
4. In the second creation account man is alone in the “garden of Eden” introducing us to his state of original happiness.
God as Creator and Legislator sets conditions for his covenant with man.
The Lord God “formed every kind of animal of the field and all the birds of the air and brought them to the man to see what he would call them” Gen. 2:19.
The first man goes through some kind of a test before God and himself recognising his own superiority and that he cannot be put at par with other creatures, “but the man did not find a help similar to himself” Gen. 2:20.
5. From his first existence before God, man from his existence is in search of his own being -- his own identity “…the man did not find…similar to himself = companionship, building together.”
Man states what he is not in relation to the visible world of living beings.
Man is suggesting what he is: a thinking rational creature who can name creatures, reflect on himself, and who he is.
He can only enter into relationship with someone who shares the essence of man: power of speech, morality, government, religion, immortality…all absent in the beings of the physical world.
This self-knowledge, “the man did not find a help similar to himself, is the first fundamental definition of humanity.”
The person is the person is a subject, a thinking, reflecting, desiring, subject.
Solitude and Subjectivity
6th General Audience, October 14, 1979.
1. “It is not good that the man should be alone, I want to give him a helper similar to himself” (Gen. 2:18).
When God gives man the commandment concerning all the trees that grow in the garden in Eden, above all the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this gives man the dimension of choice and self-determination -- free will.
This subjectivity includes, therefore, the freedom of self-determination to make choices.
Original solitude includes both self-consciousness and self-determination.
2. Man created in the image of God is the subject of the first covenant, as a person, a partner of the Absolute, where he must consciously discern between good and evil, life and death.
God’s command in Gen. 2:16-17 express the uniqueness of the relationship between God and man, the submission, dependence of the man-creature on the God-Creator.
John Paul points out that, man is alone, through his humanity, through what he is, is set in an exclusive relationship with God himself.
Solitude and meaning of the body
3. Man is a body among bodies. He belongs to the physical and visible world.
Aware of being alone.
He is aware of this, being alone, by reference to this own body as he named the animals and living beings.
Based on his own body, man reached the conviction that the was alone.
4. While in the 2nd account of creation there is mention that “there was no one to till the soil” Gen 2:5, a connection can be made with the 1st account where the divine command is expressed, Fill the earth, subdue it, and rule, Gen. 1:28.
Ruling the earth is found in man himself, this is because only, he and no other being, is able to cultivate it and transform it according to his needs.
This human activity as part of man is also intrinsic to the meaning of original solitude, “and belongs to the dimension of solitude which man has from the beginning been in the visible world as a body among bodies and discovers the meaning of his own bodiliness.”
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
List of Titles
Lesson 1: What is meant by "Beginning"?